There is no doubt that there is a clear connection between our Immigration policy and how well our economy is doing.
Immigration increases the overall size of the U.S. economy. Of this there is no question. In 2009 immigrants accounted for 15 percent of all workers. More workers and more people mean a bigger GDP. Immigrants are 15 percent of U.S. workers. They likely account for about 10 percent of GDP or more than a trillion dollars annually. However, this does not mean that the native-born population benefits from immigration.
Basic economic theory shows that the overwhelming majority of this increase in economic activity goes to the immigrants themselves in the form of wages and other compensation. It is important to understand that the increase in the size of the economy is not, by itself, a benefit to the existing population. Moreover, immigrants who arrived in the last 10, 20, or 50 years are without question earning and living better on average then they would be had they remained in their home countries.
The effects of restrictive immigration laws in several U.S. regions affect employers and immigrants themselves, official sources said today.
The problem that concerns many states in the country, where local governments passed laws to prosecute undocumented workers, is addressed in a report by the Agriculture Department of Georgia, a region that passed the HB 87 state immigration law.
According to the report, the farmers lost about 10 million USD because of the lack of workers for the growing and harvesting of crops.
The fact is that companies with more than 10 employees were required to use the E-Verify system, a program to check the immigration status of workers in an on-line database, which frightened away thousands of undocumented workers.
The fear of facing criminal penalties for using false documents to gain employment also triggered the exodus of immigrants to other regions.
The Georgia document says 26 percent of producers surveyed lost income due to lack of workers to meet the needs of the fruit and vegetable industry, which faced major losses.
The absence of comprehensive immigration reforms and the adoption of local regulations create serious problems in states like Alabama, South Carolina, Utah and Arizona, among other regions, where immigrant labor is a decisive factor in agriculture. There is no doubt that immigration reform is crucial not only because the system is broken, but also to support economic growth in the future.